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Ex-Weezer Bassist Mikey Welsh Dies

Forty year-old found dead in Chicago hotel room

October 9, 2011 3:05 PM ET
2001 mikey welsh san francisco weezer
Mikey Welsh performs with Weezer in San Francisco.
J. Shearer/WireImage

Former Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh was found dead in a Chicago hotel room on Saturday, October 8th. Staff at the Raffaello Hotel discovered the body when Welsh, 40, failed to make his 1PM checkout. No foul play is expected and the cause of his death is still unknown. In an eerie tweet dated September 26th, Welsh wrote, "dreamt i died in chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). need to write my will today."

Welsh first linked up with frontman Rivers Cuomo in Boston in 1997, when Weezer was officially on hiatus, and the two played together in Homie (unofficially referred to as the Rivers Cuomo Band by fans). Welsh was offered a full-time position in Weezer after bassist Matt Sharp defected from the band in 1998. The group recorded some demos that year, but internal frustrations led to a further period of inactivity.

Welsh made his live debut with Weezer when they returned to the stage in the summer of 2000 for a string of festival dates, including a run on the Warped Tour. Shortly thereafter they recorded their third album, Weezer (more popularly known as the Green Album), which yielded the hits "Hash Pipe" and "Island in the Sun." It would be Welsh’s only album with the band.

Welsh quit Weezer in 2001 for vague reasons, which were later revealed to be a nervous breakdown amid other mental health issues. In August of that year he sought treatment in a psychiatric hospital, following a possible drug-assisted suicide attempt.

Welsh successfully launched a second artistic career, transforming into a visual artist with some degree of success. His work appears on Burton snowboards and an album cover by the band Twin Berlin."When he emerged from his nervous breakdown that spelled his exit from the rock ‘n’ roll world, he took on a new role as an astonishing and pure visual artist," reads a statement on Weezer’s official website. "It was a glorious flowering of a talent he always possessed, but he had chosen to rock out first, paint later."

Welsh had planned to catch Weezer’s show at the RIOTfest in Chicago on Sunday (October 9th). "While we wont see him, we know he will be there rocking out with us!" reads the band statement.

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